The Not Yet Chat

All posts, RSS Feed

Halfway through december of the last year, we wrote about needing new communications methods for RPGpad. The article was called “Towards New Communication Methods” — as some of you know, any article with a title that looks like ‘Towards X’ is basically saying ‘we do not have X yet’… But this is no longer the case!

Technical work

As we explained in our previous post The weakness of the https protocol is that is meant for the browsers to ask for things, not for our servers to tell you things. And this limits what we could do with RPGpad.

To remedy this, we have been working over the last 2 months to create a new method of communication that allows us to send messages. We now support the wss (or Secure Websockets) protocol, which is specifically meant to cover some of the weaknesses of the https protocol. With it we can have our backend servers send realtime messages once the front end has requested this:

The frontend and the backend

Just like in the TNCM post, the “front end” is the web server where you view RPGpad. The “back end” is the part that your web server connects to. Your web browsers can now request to be “subscribed” to a stream of messages, and from that point on receive messages immediately when things change.

This means that we can do a lot of new and interesting things with RPGpad that we could not do before.


The whole reason we originally looked into having new communications methods is for the new Chat feature originally announced in Looking forward to 2020. We want to have a chat that works well with our character sheets and dice rolling, and that supports chat roleplay the way you, your players, and your campaign community want!

This week we have the first real results for the integrated chat, which does little more than send messages to other players in the chat. But having that prototype working in our development environment is a big encouragment to keep working on it. Lo and behold, the development chat:

Work in Progress Chat Screenshot

There’s still a ways to get before we can enable chat for all your campaigns, but we want to give you an idea of the features we are aiming for with the first version of the chat:

  • Permanent and Temporary Rooms We want to support both permanent chat rooms and temporary chat rooms. Permanent chat rooms are useful for OOC rooms as well as having IC “locations” such as the “Boar’s Head Inn”. Temporary rooms are useful for running a chat mission for a few people, and having the room go away after the mission is over.
  • Mask Usage We want to support the same kind of masks that we support in the forum, with players easily switching to their player characters, and Storytellers easily using one or more NPCs in their chat roleplay. This extends to the “user list” we want to add, where you should be able to see the current mask of each user in the room as well, to help out with roleplay and make it easier to see what is going on.
  • Dice Rolls Just like we did for the forums, we want to support dice rolling for each game system. This allows people to make dice rolls live in the chat, either free form, or based on their currently selected character.

We have several more features that we are looking at for the chat — but these are the main ones we are aiming for with the first version of the chat.

Do you have an idea for the chat? Let us know!

As always, this week’s changelog is available for your perusal.